White bumps on your skin? Could be whiteheads, milia or fungal acne!
Identifying your skin issue is the first step to getting clearer, glowing skin. While we would always recommend consulting with a professional to get the most accurate diagnosis, here are some ways you can self-diagnose whether those bumps on your skin are whiteheads, milia or fungal acne:
Whiteheads are essentially clogged pores, and what makes them distinct from the other two is that they're extractable/ poppable! (Although we don't recommend doing this!) Whiteheads are normally caused by the accumulation of dead skin cells, excess sebum and gunks like dirt and bacteria.
How do I treat whiteheads?
Good news is, you can definitely treat whiteheads at home with chemical exfoliators like AHA and BHA! Other than COSRX's star exfoliants, we also love the By Wishtrend Mandelic Acid 5% Prep Water, which is a gentle AHA exfoliant that's perfect for all skin types.
Related Article: The Difference Between Blackheads and Whiteheads
Unlike whiteheads, milia appears when skin protein is trapped under your skin, so it is not directly related to clogged pores or excess sebum. Milia is pretty easy to spot because of its distinct, pearl-like appearance, and they often pop up around the most delicate parts of your skin, such as the eye area.
How do I treat milia?
When it comes to dealing with milia, you can just let your skin turnover handle it on its own, as they will clear up overtime. However, you can always give your skin a helping hand with a little glycolic acid or retinol to speed up the skin's turnover rate! Also remember to stick to lightweight products, as thick eye creams or moisturisers allow the keratin to keep growing. We love gel products like the COSRX Hydrium Green Tea Aqua Soothing Gel Cream, which is lightweight and absorbs easily into the skin!
3. Fungal Acne
Pityrosporum (Malassezia) folliculitis, also known as fungal acne, is basically a yeast overgrowth or infection on your skin. Fungal acne is usually associated with itchiness, and often appears in clusters. Fungal acne can happen due to excessively oily/sweaty/greasy skin and hot or humid weather, among other things. This is why they normally concentrate around the T-Zone, forehead, hairline, chest and back, areas where oil production is normally higher.
How do I treat fungal acne?
Fungal acne are pretty tricky to treat, as they don't work well with typical acne products. You should first do a full sweep of your current skin care routine, and remove all the problematic ingredients like heavy oils or occlusives. You can also use anti-dandruff shampoos like Nizoral or Head & Shoulders, or a sulfur product as we have discussed in this previous blog post.
Related article: The Different Types of Acne - Which One Do You Have?
While they might all look similar at first glance, we hope this guide has helped you identify your skin condition, so you can better know how to further treat it! If you have any other helpful tips on treating whiteheads, milia or fungal acne, please feel free to leave them down below!